Jackie Wright

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For the English footballer, see Jackie Wright (footballer).

John "Jackie" Wright (born ca. 1905, Belfast, Ireland — died January 1989, Belfast, Northern Ireland) also nicknamed Little Jackie and Uncle Jackie,was an Irish comedian, best known for being the bald-headed sidekick of Benny Hill on his television programme for one and a half decades. In many of the show's trademark accelerated-motion scenes, Hill would often pat Wright's bald head rapidly, the motion being accompanied by dubbed-in smacking sounds. Actress Suzy Mandel recently told Gram Pontante's website that "Jackie Wright was a chain smoker and he would often hide his cigarette in his mouth or behind his back during scenes. In fact, you could often see a little plume of smoke rising behind him if you looked close enough. Benny would slap his head to fan the smoke away." Wright's diminutive stature – he was only 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m) tall – and Northern Irish accent became assets to the comedy.

Biography[edit]

Born in Belfast, the eldest of twelve children, Wright first worked as an automobile body assembler, even working in the United States for Cadillac. When the Great Depression took hold, Wright returned to Belfast and then began working in the field of entertainment, first as a musician and then as a supporting comedian.

He did not enter television until the 1960s, when Hill discovered him and persuaded him to join his troupe. At the time, Hill was ending his stint with the BBC, and starting a 20 year relationship with Thames Television. Hill usually referred to him as "Little Jackie" or "our little Donny Osmond" on the television programme. Wright also appeared on the short-lived programme Whoops Baghdad. Wright gained a cult following when edited-down versions of the Benny Hill programmes began airing in syndication in the US in the late 1970s.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Wright left the show in 1983 owing to poor health. Five and a half years later, he died at the age of 83 in a Belfast hospital after battling a long, undisclosed illness. At the time of his death, Benny Hill remarked, "He was a lovely little fella... I'm saddened beyond words."[1]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benny's Place tribute to Jackie Wright